When Ric Cooper and I first started working on the Colgate account, their long-running campaign featured a grocer wearing a whitecoat, dispensing advice to children about fillings. Presumably this was in the hope that a few dim-witted people might be fooled into thinking that he was actually a dentist. So against this, the ‘Baggy Trousers’ commercial was considered to be a breakthrough piece – in the world of toothpaste advertising that is.
It was such a success, that it was re-made for the US market, even though Madness and the ‘Baggy Trousers’ track was hardly known there at the time. This sort of thing just didn’t happen back in those days. Multi-national advertising generally meant re-making ‘the American copy’. The US version also ended up as a clip in a Talking Heads video. I’ve no idea why.
I remember that a lot rested on Madness themselves allowing us to re-record their song – which thankfully they did, subject to approving the storyboard. Many years later I got to know the band when we made an ad with them for Sekonda watches. It was only then that I found out how they actually quite liked it. Even now, Carl from the band introduces me to people as “the bloke who did the Colgate ad”.